US faces Canada to open 2016 women's world hockey tournament

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KAMLOOPS, British Columbia (AP) The defending champion United States will open the 2016 women's world hockey championships against host Canada.

The eight-country tournament opens March 28 at the Sandman Centre and concludes with the gold-medal game April 4 in Kamloops, British Columbia.

The Americans beat Canada 7-5 in the 2015 final in Malmo, Sweden, to claim a fifth world title over the past six tournaments.

Canada, Finland, Russia and the U.S. are in Group A while the Czech Republic, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland are in Group B.

The top two countries in Group A earn byes to the semifinals April 3. The bottom two take on the top two from Group B in the quarterfinals.

Canada has won 10 gold medals in the 16 women's world championships, with the most recent in 2012 in Burlington, Vt.